Deciding Whether a Fax Server is Necessary
October 18, 2013
By Michelle Amodio
, TMCnet Contributor
Despite the fact that we are in a mostly paperless society when it comes to communications, many businesses still need and prefer fax technology. Too many industries still require the need for tangible documents, whether it’s healthcare or government, and even in sales, fax technology is here to stay, but it has evolved quite a bit over time.
All too often, sending and receiving faxes is still one of those office tasks that go unmanaged. Sometimes, there is one dedicated fax machine for an entire office, or there are too many machines for a small group of people. Either way, important documents can get lost in the shuffle rather easily, so it’s essential to ask fax users: Is a fax server necessary?
Businesses are already in the habit of consolidating their communication needs and integrate different services together to streamline their costs and productivity. Fax server use is growing as networked connectivity of the office environment increases. Fax servers are essentially modem-capable hardware, either on a copy machine or a separate server, which allows the digital transmission of facsimile, and can be sent by email, virtual print job, Web interface or special software.
Image courtesy Shutterstock
Another option in conjunction with a fax server is utilizing a fax ATA (analog telephony adaptor) device, which uses existing fax hardware as part of a low-cost Internet fax solution alongside integration with fax to email and email to fax software. Companies can integrate analog hardware into more technologically efficient and cost-effective systems without having to heavily invest in new hardware.
There are quite a few benefits to taking advantage of fax server technology with ATA devices. ATA devices allow for traditional telephone equipment to connect to dial-tone service through VoIP providers without needing a computer. Since traditional fax machines are effectively phones with scanning capabilities, ATA devices can help utilize existing fax machines toward FoIP (Fax over IP) implementations.
Because they are transmitted in digital form, FoIP documents don't have to be printed before they are faxed. This saves both paper and printer ink. While that seems small on the advantage spectrum, the cost benefit can add up quite a bit.
Despite the many benefits of using fax server technology with ATA, there are still instances where integrating fax into an IP communication infrastructure wouldn’t work for some types of businesses. The only real disadvantage to using a traditional fax machine is that since fax servers fax out computer files, paper documents need to be scanned in order to be sent out. Businesses that deal with a lot of paper might find that time-consuming and cumbersome, but the overall advantages outweigh the few disadvantages.
Choosing to install a fax server with ATA has several key benefits that most companies can benefit from, and at the end of the day, it comes down to the fax requirements of a specific organization that will determine if fax server technology is a perfect fit.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson